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Top 10 Beautiful Hot Springs

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Some are for soaking, others are simply to be observed, but they are ALL stunning. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Beautiful Hot Springs. For this list, we’re looking at the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring hot springs, hot pools and geothermal spas from around the world. We’ll be including both hot springs where you can bathe and luxuriate and those which, for various reasons, are strictly off-limits, but which are nonetheless beautiful enough to make the trip worthwhile.
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Top 10 Beautiful Hot Springs


Some are for soaking, others are simply to be observed, but they are ALL stunning. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Beautiful Hot Springs.


For this list, we’re looking at the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring hot springs, hot pools and geothermal spas from around the world. We’ll be including both hot springs where you can bathe and luxuriate and those which, for various reasons, are strictly off-limits, but which are nonetheless beautiful enough to make the trip worthwhile.


#10: Cascate del Mulino

Manciano, Italy

Italy, (Tuscany in particular), is a land of enchantment with almost too much to offer with its panoramic vistas of rolling hills, inspiring coastline and (of course) food and wine. Well… unfair as it might be, you can also add “one of the most beautiful hot springs in the world” to the region’s list of features. Just a few minutes away from the town of Saturnia, these thermal waterfalls and sulphuric hot springs await. Don’t mistake that charming old mill for a front desk, this is a completely free, public hot spring with (thankfully) plenty of free parking nearby. Though that does mean that it can get crowded on weekends, it’s still paradise.


#9: Jigokudani Monkey Park

Yamanouchi, Nagano Prefecture, Japan


Like we said, you won’t be able to take a dip in all of these hot springs, but we’re not sure that you’d want to jump in here even if you were allowed - the pools are already rather crowded. In place of human bathers, these hot springs are full of… monkeys! At an elevation of 2,800 feet and accessible only via a footpath, Jigokudani Monkey Park is not the easiest of places to visit, but given its stunning beauty, as well as the unique sight of bathing Japanese macaques, it’s well worth the trip. Descending from the cliffs and forests to soak every day, hundreds of snow monkeys guarantee a once in a lifetime experience.


#8: Deception Island Hot Springs

Antarctica

A part of the South Shetland Islands archipelago, Deception Island has been home to whaling stations and various research outposts over the years, and its history can be traced through the dilapidated buildings, equipment and vehicles. It’s also an active volcano. Though this volcano has been known to well, erupt, this remains one of the safest ports in Antarctica, and a (relatively) popular tourist destination. Brave the unforgiving cold of the Antarctic climate and you’ll reach an otherworldly landscape, complete with dark sands, a population of chinstrap penguins and... hot springs! It’s a very strange place, but hauntingly beautiful and just about the most unique place you’ll ever go bathing. . . or just go.


#7: Hammamat Ma'in

Ma'in, Jordan

After journeying through the desert, you might not believe your eyes, but what you’re seeing is no mirage - that’s a desert oasis! Sitting nearly 400 feet below sea level, and located between the city of Madaba and the Dead Sea, the Ma'in Hot Springs are rich in minerals and history. Legend has it that King Herod himself enjoyed the therapeutic benefits of this incredible natural wonder. The area immediately surrounding the hot springs and waterfalls has admittedly been developed pretty extensively, but if it’s in the the budget, a stay at an eco-resort is sure to make for a lovely experience. If not, the public springs are accessible for a reasonable fee. The beauty of it all? Priceless.


#6: Chinoike Jigoku

Beppu, Japan

The island of Kyushu isn’t a must-visit for all travelers, but those seeking more Japanese hot springs, or “onsen”, know that this is the place to be. The coastal city of Beppu has become a global destination because of its abundant hot springs. There are plenty of places here when you can bathe in a serene setting, but if you’re looking for beauty above all else, Blood Pond Hot Spring is the spring you’re after. The oldest known hot spring in Japan at over 1300 years old, it earns its ominous name from its bloody red color. The high temperatures mean that taking a dip is strictly off limits, but you’re welcome to dip your feet in the ashi-mizu pool.



#5: Grand Prismatic Spring

Yellowstone National Park, United States

Not unlike those Japanese famous bloody ponds, Yellowstone National Park’s iconic Grand Prismatic Spring trades in swimmability for one-of-a-kind coloration and simply stunning beauty. The Grand Prismatic Spring was first discovered in Wyoming in the early 19th century and has captivated travelers ever since with its incredible vibrancy. With a blue center of extremely hot water rising from a crack deep in the earth, it slowly fades to the various colors of an optical prism, including green, yellow, orange and red. 370 feet deep and moving some 560 gallons of water per minute, it is a very literal force of nature. While in Yellowstone Park, travelers should also check out the Minerva Terrace, which is beautiful in its own right.



#4: Takaragawa Onsen
Gunma Prefecture, Kantō, Japan

Returning to Japan yet again, this world-renowned onsen might just be the most relaxing hot spring on the planet. About two and a half hours north of Tokyo in a remote area of the Kanto region, Takaragawa Onsen is a stunning, unbelievably peaceful retreat from Japan’s busy city life. Soaking in the onsen surrounded by the natural beauty of the mountains, rivers and trees, you will feel the stress simply flowing out of you. Of course, the reception and overall treatment you receive from the hotel there certainly won’t hurt. For a restless and relaxing hot spring experience in a beautiful setting, you can’t do much better than Takaragawa Onsen.


#3: Frying Pan Lake

Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley, New Zealand

For something entirely different, we head to New Zealand, where we find the largest hot pool in the world. Also known as the Waimangu Cauldron, Frying Pan Lake is the result of the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera. As enticing as it may look, the 9.4 acre lake is, sadly, not swimmable as the temperature, even in the shallows, averages a deadly 110-130 Fahrenheit. Don’t let that dissuade you from making the trip, however. Surrounded by verdant hills, the steaming lake is absolutely stunning, and makes for some truly otherworldly photo ops. While there, be sure to also check out the neighboring Inferno Crater Lake.


#2: Blue Lagoon

Grindavík, Iceland

Is it any wonder that this northern island nation has become such a must-visit destination for travelers? In the age of social media travel photography has reached an unprecedented level of popularity, and Iceland is a land seemingly made up of almost exclusively unique sights. Iceland is known for its many natural hot springs, but the Blue Lagoon, despite being man-made, crowded and encircled by a thick cluster of unexciting buildings, remains one of the country’s most popular places to bathe. Located near Grindavík in southwest Iceland, this geothermal spa is characterized by its milky-blue mineral-rich water, which stands in stunning contrast to the area’s black lava rock fields. At a perpetually comfortable 102 degrees Fahrenheit, the Blue Lagoon provides the perfect balance of beauty and comfort.

#1: Pamukkale Thermal Pools

Denizli, Turkey

This natural site, located in the River Menderes valley, is understandably Turkey’s most popular destination. Which is saying something! Dating back to the times of antiquity, people have been making the journey to these thermal pools seeking restorative and relaxing qualities. The hot, calcium-rich and appropriately turquoise water gently cascades over the travertines - naturally-formed, beautiful white limestone basins. Though the days of freely bathing in Pammukale’s travertines are a thing of the past, this restriction is ultimately for the best, as it protects these natural formations for future generations. Don’t worry though, you can still take your shoes off and walk in them, and a dedicated pool has been established for bathing.
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